A personal update to end off 2015
Hi Everyone, I haven’t written a post for a while, so wanted to end off the year with an update. It has been a busy year for me with lots of good things happening both professionally and personally. Banting Buddies coaching is growing, and slowly but surely our network is gaining both a national and international footprint. This has been made possible by our online training course and Skype mentoring programme for new coaches. The feedback has been fantastic, and I look forward to what 2016 will bring for Banting Buddies and all our wonderful coaches. They are doing such a great job of helping people lose weight and get healthy.
I have also had the privilege this year of working with the team at Lose It magazine. Writing articles for them, and moderating their online forum has been both rewarding and an opportunity to learn and grow. My knowledge base has developed through continuous reading and exploration, but most of all from personal struggle and experience. Honestly, the “university of life” is a fantastic educational institution – especially if one can persevere through the frustration and perceived lack of success to keep searching for answers.
On that note, I wish I could tell you that I have lost the last 15 kilograms and will be wearing a bikini this summer. Alas, that is not the case. This year has been an interesting one for me in terms of self-discovery, experimentation and getting closer to an understanding of this body of mine. I have literally tried everything this year. Intermittent fasting, ketosis, cyclical ketosis, no dairy, high fibre, reduced fat, high fat, calorie restriction, blah and blah! I was fast becoming despondent, frustrated and completely baffled at my body’s inability to let go of the weight. I also felt I deserved a break for all the years of hard work and effort I have put in. I danced at my pity party and then pulled myself together.
Still at my wit’s end, but as determined as ever, I decided to see an integrative doctor to have some blood and stool tests done. I had a strong hunch that I was missing something and my gut was telling me that it went way beyond the food I was eating. I knew that my diet was excellent and my portion sizes appropriate.
The results floored me! Despite a healthy real food LCHF diet for the last 4 years, I have problems with my gut. I won’t go into every detail, but basically, the stool results indicate that I have low-grade inflammation, some pathogenic bacteria that shouldn’t be there, and healthy e-coli that should be there, but isn’t – at all!. It is definitely not encouraging when results are flagged “abnormal”, but like I always say information is power. I have what is termed gut dysbiosis, which basically means my gut flora is imbalanced, i.e not enough of the good guys and too many of the bad guys. This might not seem that serious, but your gut to a large degree controls your health , metabolism, and immune system. Gut dysbiosis can lead to all sorts of problems such as higher than normal blood sugar and insulin, hormonal imbalances, mood disorders, and stubborn weight. I can tick all those boxes. I am even wondering if perhaps my PCOS diagnosis (hormonal imbalance) was actually a gut problem all along. The good news is that I have no yeast or fungus, which demonstrates that my diet is devoid of sugar, which those particular little critters love to feed off.
When I explored the causes of gut dysbiosis the one thing I related to strongly was stress. I know I need to chill more, which is easier said than done, but stress literally stuffs you up as I have discovered the hard way. Other main causes can be antibiotic use, medications and poor diet – none of which apply in my particular case. Let me please emphasise this one important point. I had absolutely no indication that I had a gut issue. In fact I thought my gut was in pristine condition. I had no problems or complaints in that department at all. No bloating, no gas, no constipation – nothing! Although those can be warning flags that all is not well.
Obviously now my plan of action is to fix this issue. It won’t happen overnight though. I need to dig deep into my reserves of patience, and take things one day at a time. Treatment will be all natural and will involve supplementing with e-coli, oregano oil, grapefruit seed extract, high potency probiotics, and fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi . After a few months of this regime, the next step will be to test for food sensitivities. According to my doctor, my scalloped tongue indicates there is a problem there too (more than likely aggravated by my gut situation). She said if we tested now it would quite possibly indicate sensitivities to a long list of foods. Once I fix my gut this list should reduce and then avoidance of specific foods can be more targeted. I am to continue with my real food, low carb, healthy fat diet, and must try to increase my fibre even more. We can all do with more fibre, especially from leafy greens. There is a chance that if I can sort this out, I might find a way to lose the weight more easily. I stay forever positive and hopeful.
I am very grateful for modern technology and functional health doctors who seek out the root cause of health issues and who don’t just treat symptoms with pharmaceutical drugs. The lesson that I learned is that obesity is often a symptom of a much deeper health issue, which needs to be explored, diagnosed and treated so as to enjoy optimal health. At least I am one step closer. If you are not getting the results you want, then don’t give up. There might be something else going on and you owe it to your body to find out what. I will certainly keep you posted with regards to my progress.
One thing I have gained this year is a fit strong body, all thanks to Crossfit. I am truly loving exercise for the first time in my life. I am getting ever closer to my first pull up, my double-unders are coming along nicely, and I cleaned and jerked 40 kilograms the other day. For those of you who don’t understand the lingo – just know that I am getting strong, and can lift heavier than some dudes out there. I have come a long way in 9 months, and that is why Crossfit is so incredibly rewarding. You get results. It has also had a very positive impact on my confidence and mental attitude. I feel powerful and strong, and my approach these days is definitely more “can-do”. It has also been a great stress management tool – “200 burpees for time” will very quickly make you forget about your problems.
I wish everyone a wonderfully blessed Christmas and festive season. Be safe, stay positive and never give up.